I see, unlike numerous other politicians in East Belfast, Alliance Councillor Máire Hendron has supported the calls from the community in the Short Strand in relation to the dismantling of Mountpottinger Barracks.
Cllr Hendron and I both sit on the Board of the Short Strand Partnership and she is more than aware of the campaign that has taken place to remove this base and replace it with much needed social provision.
I commend Máire for coming out clearly and joining with those of us putting forward a rational argument in relation to Mountpottinger.
The drain the base causes on policing resources in the east of the city is much more an issue of concern for people than the redundant argument put forward by some within Unionism who insist that people are in some way made to feel 'better' or 'safer' as a result of it's presence, well the community in the Short Strand know differently of course!
People will not just be made to 'feel' safer or better as a result of Mountpottinger going, the PSNI, in conjunction with the DPP and local communities, will be able to refocus and utilise the vast amounts of money and manpower saved by the very fact that this base is no longer there.
As a result of Mountpottinger's dismantling, those of us genuinely concerned with creating an effective and community orientated policing service will continue to push the PSNI to utilise these saving for the betterment and greater safety of people living in this part of the city. A building means absolutely nothing, particularly one with the notorious legacy that Mountpottinger has.
FYI: As yet I have received no reply to my letter to Margaret Ritchie regarding the development of this site, but it's early days yet and I will keep you informed of any info that I get.